The essential facts supporting this puzzle are clearcut: George Eli Bronstein was born on May 4, 2016. His parents are Emily and James, and his older sister is Evelyn Anne, aka Evie. I am friends with the kvelling maternal grandma, Arlene Romoff, who asked me to construct a puzzle in time for the bris, a week following the birth. This would add to a legacy of earlier puzzles for Arlene's three other grandchildren, which you can find here, here, and here. With time being of the essence, Arlene pitched a Star Wars theme to wink at the newborn GB's exact birthdate, while I pointed out that starship had already sailed, crossword-wise. Nevertheless, I jotted down MAY_THE_FOURTH (12 letters) over BE_WITH_GEORGE (also 12 letters), and noticed that the last name BRONSTEIN (9 letters) could be threaded down through those two long entries in the 7th column. Moreover, the 3-letter middle name ELI could be a final down answer, off that final E of GEORGE, and voilą, we had our basic outline for a minipuzzle!
It was still necessary to find three more 9-letter down words, and I was pleased to find that MAYFLOWER, INHERITOR, and RARE_EARTH could all fit. I decided to eschew the old joke about April showers bring May flowers and stick with a straightforward clue about the historic ship, and had some fun brainstorming with friends on an accurate, non-morbid but not-too-tricky way to clue INHERITOR (focus on genetics rather than probate). As for the last long down word, there was a trade-off between a rock band that peaked during my teens [though its two best known songs have titles that fortuitously mesh with our puzzle's theme; click on the links if you're in the mood to listen to I Just Want to Celebrate or Get Ready] and my background as a chemist.
In terms of filling the rest of the puzzle, I did my best given the already considerable constraints, but consulted with Arlene for additional opportunities to tie answer words and/or clues to names and/or situations that are meaningful to the family. Not too surprisingly, the newborn's middle name honors a paternal great grandfather [my idea to clue with respect to this Three Dog Night classic was nixed]; it was also gratifying to include IRA, the name of Arlene's late husband, the boy's maternal grandfather. It was quite the coincidence to learn that a biblical figure shared a name with a friend of Emily's since kindergarten, and it was also fun to research the psychological theories of Alfred ADLER. You may find other tidbits in the puzzle that speak to you ... please let us know!
As to the puzzle's rollout, the photos below are self-explanatory. Mazel tov!
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